Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shadows from the ole' Oak tree

As promised for this week, here is another from the "photo painting" file I have been toying with recently. This image was created with a capture that I grabbed up in Ocala on a site survey for a wedding we are working on next week. I would love to mention the family it is for, but out of respect for their privicy, I don't think I will go there. The clear tents are going to be under these beautiful oak trees that are over a hundred years old. I am really looking forward to lighting these incredible relics of nature!

You know, its actually quite amazing who calls me or emails me on ocasion about a post or blog entry that they saw via the power of google alerts. The experience has usually been positive for the most part.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A quick stop on the way to Key West

This week, I'd like to take you on a little tour of some photo painting's I have been working on lately, so come on....lets go! As I was taking this just off of US1 last year, I had no idea what potential it had. I have several techniques that I used with this image and am still learning. Just another reason to catalogue images and keyword them as you never now when you may want to bring them to life!

This was taken on a trip down to the keys for a wedding we lit last summer I believe. Hope you like :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Theatre in the sky

One of the only things that will get my attention as I am doing the many things required while driving across the state (you know....eating, talking on the phone, checking emails, singing, yelling at other drivers, reading the paper, and sleeping), is a great sunset. I get kinda crazed when that sun starts painting the sky as it does so well. Its amazing what can be done with one light source! The worse thing for me is not having a place to pull off and find a quick subject. On this particular day, this fence post would have to do.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shanghai up close

During a recent trip to Shanghai, It was quite impressive to view a nightly process (although, it was kind of eerie the first time I saw it.) At about 10:30 each night, the exterior architectural lights of virtually all of the structures in the city, beit old or new, are simultaneously shut off on Q. THis was most impressive to me, as a lighting designer, as this would be a logistical nightmare at best, especially with some of the older structures and systems. With Shanghai readying itself for the worlds stage for Expo 2010, other major city's should reflect in the advantages of how such a network might be useful in preserving precious resources. In keeping with what the whole world was supposed to do tonight, this post seemed most appropriate. Too bad I forgot all about it until now!

Night colors of modern Shanghai_

Friday, March 27, 2009

At the end of the trail in Silver Springs.

Although I love to be on the road and traveling about, its always great to get home. Its images like this that I pluck off of the hard drive that remind me of the beauty of Florida that I still want to explore. This was captured up in the central part of the state in the natural springs area near Ocala. We are heading up there to light a pretty big wedding in the horse farm country soon......more to follow on all of that.

Now, where's my ipod? Lou Dobb's annoying monotone voice is blaring out of the overdriven speaker here at the airport. Does he ever smile by the way?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fields of coin

Its quite humbling for me to even post an image this evening. You see, as Photoshop World comes to a close tomorrow here in Boston, that means that this evening played host to the incredible gathering that is known as "The Art of Digital Photography". All in one room....all on one stage....the most diverse and creative group of photographers and digital artist of today were there to showcase their work. The elite group consisted of Moose Peterson, Joe McNally, Vincent Versace, John Paul Caponigro, Jim Divitale, Joe Glyda, and Jay Maisel. The insightful words of encouragement from these creative artists as well as the immense body of art and images that they shared was yet another reminder of why I possess such an interest in this art. Thanks for the inspiration guys!

Now, as far as this image, well......haha...

This is what I remember about when I captured it....

We were working on an event in Vero Beach at the time. While hanging out with Drew and the video crew backstage in the tent, I noticed a guy scanning this HUGE field with a metal detector. For some strange reason, this type of actvity has always bothered me. I then proceeded to tell the crew about something I have always wanted to do. Cut to the next scene, there I am running off to the car to grab a handful of change (pennys and nickles....alot of them!) I then walked into the field, about 50 yards from the poor chap, made sure he wasn't looking,and...... FLING. Fields of coin!

HEHEHE......sorry....always wanted to do that. The 30 minutes of laughter from the crew was certainly well worth the change!

Shadows in the morning

Sometimes, its a good idea to step out of the comfort zone. Not my usual style of post, but, occasionally, thats a good thing.

Just the other morning, I noticed the sun racking some really cool shadows through these trees just outside of my room up here in Boston. And, oh yeah, its cold...real cold. Well anything under 60 deg F is cold for this Florida boy (hahaha)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A stop along a path at Iguazu Falls in Brazil

Since I am in Boston for the week, I have decided to post an image from South America......

Hmmm, not really sure what the tie-in is here Mike.....

Yeah neither am I...but I'm starved and running out the door in a few minutes...

(My Lord, these posts are getting lamer and lamer!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Old truck in Napa Valley

Well, as I have done all too many times in the past, I am pulling one from the vault. While trekking thru California's wine country in what seemed like an illegal crash course in the region, I happened to find this subject just outside of a cool little winery. Napa is supposed to be enjoyed and sampled like.......well, a fine wine!

This knucklehead crammed thru it like the first time I sampled Venice as a 25 year old. In, out, done. Where's the next train off to?

Stupid, I know...... I gotta learn to slow down! ..... Maybe next trip.

Anyway, as always, when I don't have an image that I captured and worked on for the day, I head for the vault. That illusive file on the MacBook Pro...

Upon returning to the room and putting on the headphones (with Radiohead I might add). I chose this one. I met up with fellow HDR guru, Ben Willmore, this evening. A true artist in his own right. (I link to him on my blog). This one reminded me in a small way, of his style (well, not really the more I look at it!)

It was really cool to meet up with Ben as I have admired his work for quite some time! Thanks for the great conversation and best of luck this week!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What happened to the water

There's a little place just a bit out west that I like to call my "secret" place. Well, its not really a secret, I just haven't seen any images posted from here. Not much to it really, just a quiet path, a few trees, a small bridge, peace and quiet, and alot of water. Wait a minute......what happened to all the water!

I was a bit shocked when I headed out there this evening. Bone dry. My gosh, thats supposed to be an intragal part of our water supply I think. Yikes. Bring on the rainy season...and quick!

I dragged 2 camera bodies out there on my walk. A D300 and an infrared converted D200. I decided to work on one of the infrared ones as I ERASED and FORMATTED the other card before I emptied it! Niiiice one Mike. Guess everyone gets an opportunity to be a dumb ass now and then (hahaha)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Driftwood for days

The South Florida coastline, as unique as it is, is kind of dull for me as a photographer. I am always on the prowl for details to use as subjects. Rocks, shells, driftwood, garbage......well, maybe I would pass on the garbage. That being said, I just about jumped out of the car before it was completely stopped when I found this gem of a site. For some reason, this beach in the San Juan Islands in Washington State had what appeared to be a complete forest of driftwood stung out all over it. Score! For what seamed like a couple of hours, I climbed all over these huge logs, branches, and twisted trees like an 8 years old at the monkey bars. Its processed a bit dark, but works for me this evening. Enjoy :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Three trucks at the dock - used to see this more often

Outside of the extremely overdone processing, this image would normally portray a fairly realistic portrait of my shop in the season. Two or three trucks at the dock on an average weekend (used to be for about half the year) usually meant were in season and kicking ass on events. To me, this capture from this year was a rarity.

This season, I can count on one hand the amount of times our loading dock had this much activity. Hard to pin in on anyone thing in particular......corporate cutbacks, over sensitive non profit groups, scared consumers, Madoff and his other selfish bastards......too many factors to name just one.

An average Friday or Saturday evening for me used to mean focusing a light or 2 just before doors, slamming lighting console buttons to the music on a cool event, popping between parties on the island just to check in with my clients and crew, and having WAY too much fun at it all! The fact that I am home this evening on a Friday night in season not only has me feeling like a fish out of water (and realizing that I need to work on my social life a bit!), but has me just a bit concerned about where all this is going and how difficult its going to be to ride out the storm. I am positive, absolutely positive, that things are going to get better. What is it going to take to get there? A better sky is up ahead, but how far up ahead. Its just so damn difficult to see it clearly now.

There has got to be a silver lining in one of those damn clouds. Let me know if you see it!

In the meantime, enjoy the colors. I know its a bit over down and looks like Walt Disney thru up all over it, but hey, I got a bit carried away :)

Enjoy the weekend folks!

Serenity Spring (ok, I made up the name)

So far this season, the only predictable thing seems to be my daily post of an image or two. Having started the day with emails of 2 more canceled events (1 of which was an indirect result of the "Madoff the Jackass" fiasco), it was nice to have a great site survey for a last minute upcoming event. This one is up in a really nice area of Florida near Ocala in the Horse Farm region....beautiful area! Lose an event and gain another. Tis the season of rolling with the punches.

So, what's all this have to do with the image Mike. Well, not much really except for the fact that this was taken up in the same area about 2 weeks ago in Silver Springs.....

Anyway, having just returned from the hike upstate, I'm beat....more on all of this later :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Leonard's in Boston - a unique angle : HDR

In preparation for a trip I have next week in Boston, I decided to check out some of the images I took from last time I was up there. While on an event in June this past year, Steve, Rob, and I found this jewel of a church while wandering around one evening. I seem to remember alot of heat and humidity with the hum of rotating fans in the background. Well, it was June! The forecast says 30's and 40's next week....yikes for this Florida boy!

I hope to catch a couple more cathedrals like this if I get a chance this time! Hope you like :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The 2009 Lusitano Collection - Part 2

Just before the guests arrived into the Equestrian Center Pavilion, the grounds were given a final combing in anticipation of the champion riders and the collection. And, given the fact that I know virtually nothing about horses, I am struggling with this fabrication of details.

Details of the table
One of the many tables strategically laid out for a perfect view of the horses up for bid.

Lusitano Collection Event - More floral detail

Out at the practice ring
Just outside of the main ring, the riders practiced their moves on the Lusitano's before heading into the main ring.
Horse muscle

A couple of the horses in the show
As this is an annual event, we hope to see a few more of these little guys next year! 
Thanks for stopping by :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The 2009 Lusitano Collection - Part 1

The following images are from an event we did in February....a horse auction, a first for us. This quick description is right out of the program from the event:

The Lusitano Collection is a trademark established by five of the most important Lusitano horse breeders in Brazil and Portugal. In 2008 The Lusitano Collection International Exhibition made its debut in the United States at a highly successful auction during the period of Florida's world-renowned Winter Equestrian Festival. It was the first time that such a collection of Lusitanos had been sold on US soil and gave clients the advantage of acquiring horses that cannot be found elsewhere in the world without the necessity of importing them either from Portugal or Brazil.

The 2009 exhibition marks the fourth anniversary of the auction and the second year it will take place in the United States. The 2009 auction will highlight collections of Lusitanos from two of the most important breeding farms in Brazil: Interagro Farms and Couderlaria Rocas do Vouga and has elected to invite only 400 attendees.

Like I said, that was right out of the program from the event. We were honored to be chosen to provide lighting for this prestigious event last month.

Just outside of the guest's tent
Just outside of the tent that was constructed under the existing pavilion structure.

Faux details outside the tent entrance
Details that were added on each side of the entrance to the tent.

New chandiliers for the event
Twelve of these rustic and decorative chandeliers were added down the center of the tent for ambiance as well as effect.

Ready for the bidders
The side facing the open performance area in the arena was open, giving the bidders an intimate setting in which to preview the collection.

Close up of florals
Floral details by Touch Floral of WPB.

Time to show the horses
Captured from the South side of the arena. The guests tent is up on the left side. I have a few more, so check back tomorrow!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gondolas waiting in Venice

Even though I have a whole batch of images I have worked on and created in a file waiting patiently for their shot at the online gallery world (this is already sounding stupid isn't it!)......this little impatient one cut to the front of the line. Please excuse him as he has no manners.......aaannnnyywayyy....

As I have said before....many many times before, when my mind wanders to locations other than where I usually am at the moment (this happens all too often I must admit), it usually wanders to somewhere in Europe. Having said all that, this image of a Venetian canal taken several years ago as a slide, scanned into the Mac a few months ago, and photo painted today has been given new life.

I hope you liked my little deviation into the photo painting world. I have been using a rather simple plug in called Topaz. I hope to do a few more soon.

This week, I hope to get caught up on some event images from a couple of recent shows, so check back soon :)

Another Palm Beach Sunrise - photo painting

Well, once again.....another sunrise is right around the corner, thanks to my wonderful chosen career in the events industry. Another successful job is in the can, and me.......well, I'm off to bed!

Hope you like this photo painting. More to come this week.......g'nite :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Off to battle

This quick imageless post (more like a twitter tweet I guess) finds me walking out the door in a second......like a lamb to the slaughter! How close are these hotels and planners going to book events back to back before one is severely jeopardized? My god, a 5 hour window to reset from a general session to a full on party for 2000 people! I am sure my next post will be reporting a total success....it always goes that way, but I still can't help but think I am walking into an olympic pool sized blood bath. More on all of this later!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Dolphin Hotel - photo painting

Jumping track a bit here for the next few posts. My most recent artistic departure has me experimenting a bit with photo painting. There are quite a few ways to go about this and the techniques seem to be limitless. I hope you hang with me as I experiment and post a few of these this week. As always, comments are appreciated (from all my flickr friends) and welcome.
This one was my first attempt that I had shelved for a couple of weeks. I recently did a couple more and I am diggin' the way they are coming out. Check back soon for more

This one was created from a snapshot on my last trip up to Epcot with my daughter. My favorite places to stay up there are definitely the Beach Club or the Yacht Club. They are situated on a lake with a few other hotels and restaurants. There is a path that goes around the lake and when the weather is nice, its a beautiful walk or boat ride to Epcot.

As far as my life in the lighting and events world, all is good....for now. I just returned from a focus this evening for a tent wedding in Palm City that takes place Saturday night. At the same time, we have a fundraiser in Palm Beach and a big corporate party in South Beach. The season has not broken any records, but I am sincerely grateful for the events we have had....thats for sure!

Thanks for stopping by :) 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Heading across the Everglades

Taken somewhere in the middle of alligator alley. For me, the only thing that makes the trip cross state go fast for me is when I'm count'n gators. Not a great game when your driving though! You may have remembered a couple of weeks ago, a very strange image of my camera on the tripod,.......on the roof of my car. This is one of many captured during that trip. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Morning color on the St. John's River

My little trip up thru the center of the state last week uncovered a region of Florida that I hope to explore a bit more someday. While the rest of the state suffers from declining lake levels, this area of the St. Johns River seems to be protected from this phenomenon. I can't explain how strange it was to see boat docks in some of those lakes reaching out to nothing. Some were literally 100 or so yards away from the water! Scary stuff......

Anyway, I have a couple of hundred images to rifle thru someday, but I like this one for tonight. A nice soothing calm morning to balance out the crazy chaotic rehearsal tonight. I can almost hear the birds chirping, can you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The New Fontainebleau Hotel

On a recent site survey and meeting at the All Newly Renovated Fountainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, I couldn't help but try to capture some of the "feel" of this hotel. We have been doing events, every now and then, for the last 20 years here. What a dramatic change for the better. Very hip, cool, slick, and South Beach. Certainly not the old crusty hotel I remember thats for sure!

I decided to post these as we are doing an event there this weekend. As was the case at the gig I posted last night, we have a severely limited window between when the morning session meeting ending and the doors opening for our event. Nothing like looking forward to an afternoon of acute stress and chest pains! Hahaha!

Anyway, check out the following images from the lobby and new pool area. I hope to catch a few more this week when I am down there this week :)

Poolside at the new Fountainblue
Near the South Tower and valet area, they have these huge doors that open up to the new pool area. What a great day for swim!
A place to chill
Just down the steps from the old Grand Ballroom is a pretty funky "chill out" area near the North lobby. A perfect candidate for the 10mm fisheye lense. Incidently, the new name for the renovated ballroom is called the Sparkle Ballroom......a nice name for a fresh look.
Out by valet
Just after I captured the pool area, I did a 180 to capture this as the valet was bringing the car up. Not sure how all the pink got in this shot during my processing, but oh well, you get the picture :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Everglades Fundraiser

Let it be known that my initial plan of starting this daily outpouring of random thoughts, images, and recollections was that not only would my photography and photoshop skills be given a daily workout, but I would eventually begin to fine tune my creative writing skills. Well, hmmm, not all of this seems to be working out. Sure, the images are getting a bit better, but as I ramble on with the apparent writing skills of a 3rd grader, I am beginning to wonder if my literary skills have improved at all in the last 11 months. With all that being said, I reluctantly introduce this evenings little post........

As crazy as this schedule was, I still cranked out a couple of shots before the guests arrived. The scene was the annual fundraiser for the Everglades Foundation. A cause that any Floridian should believe in as it needs all the help and awareness it can get. For the previous 2 years, we were at Donald Trumps MaraLago and were given about 2 days to complete our setup. Albeit a more elaborate setup the previous 2 years, this one was still a challenge. The Breakers Hotel was host to the event this year and Gloria Estafan was the name entertainment. We were given only 5 hours to turn the room over after the meeting let out. I hope to post some YouTube video someday, as it was CRAZY during this turnover. We should have had 7 hours, but as I think I mentioned before, the audio engineer for the name talent had to mouth off to the wrong person and delay the entire crew from access to the room when promised. Nice going eight ball! Guess you had what was coming to you when you lost power to the console and lost your presets. Karma my friend!

On a better note, even though the entire fundraising society here has been a bit down with the economy, the auction went surprisingly well. After dinner, Gloria and her band brought the house down and a great night was had by all.

Everglades Foundation - Just before the guests arrived

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Platinum Weddings Episode - Checca Lodge Wedding in the Florida Keys

Its not often that our work....the work of the unsung heros of the event world....gets televised. This evening, on a show called Platinum Weddings, I must say that it was kind of cool and quite humbling to see some of our work on TV. Last May of 2008, we worked on a 3 day wedding celebration for 40 people in the Keys. I blogged about it way back then on www.mdsimages.blogspot.com. After getting to the first post, click newer post to navigate thru the progression of the event.  Anyway...

The shot above is of the Event Designer Sean Defritis. Sean and I have worked on numerous fun and exciting projects over the years and I was quite honored to be asked to be part of this project. The wedding, although small, was quite a fun and creative project, and after seeing it televised, I am reminded of how cool this business is to be a part of. Enjoy the images below that I dug up this evening and never got a chance to post. And one more quick thing, a special thanks to Linda the Wedding planner as well as the bride and groom for making my crew feel like part of the celebration. And of course, last but truly not least, thanks to my rock star crew :)
From a wedding we worked on last May that aired on Platinum weddings

Link for the show is:


Wedding at the Checca Lodge - 3

Wedding at the Checca Lodge - 1

Wedding at the Checca Lodge 7

Wedding at the Checca Lodge - 5

Wedding at the Checca Lodge - 6

Wedding at the CHecca Lodge - 4

Wedding at the Checca Lodge - 2

Sean - The Designer.
And, thanks to you too Sean for all of the creative opportunities and projects you have entrusted me with over the years as well as your friendship. Congratulations my friend :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My City - West Palm Beach

After my little loop of over a thousand miles, I arrive back home. My original plan was to head up to the panhandle of Florida and trek down (alright drive down...trek just sounded cool) the west coast of Florida. Well, I ended up heading right up the center of the state, stopped in Ocala National Forest, road up the St. Johns River, thru St. Augustine, then Daytona (during bike week mind you) and then down the EAST coast via Cape Canaveral. Total reverse of the original plan! Sounds like my old travels in Europe......bumbling around.

Anyway, back to business this week. More images from this quick little get away over the next few weeks :)

Sunrise to lift-off

Two quick images from the day, from beginning to end. Although they might look like the same location, they are a couple of hundred miles apart from each other. The top one.....pretty much straight out of the camera from the river right out of my room this morning. Not a cloud in the sky, but plenty of birds. What a great way to start the day. Coffee in hand, a cool fresh breeze in the air, bird sounds overhead, and the warm glow of the sun rising up over the water. Sometime life just clicks ya know!

Then, after a full day of blundering about and hundreds of images, I made my way down the coast eventually getting to Cape Canaveral about 9PM this evening. Upon checkin, I verified that a rocket was to take off in about an hour. After a quick search on what settings would be best, I scrambled out the door to try to catch the liftoff. Just off of US1, the locals were gathering to watch the event. The coolest part about being there was the NASA channel that someone had playing on their car stereo.....behind the scenes chatter, all systems go, the countdown....very cool I must note. I have never seen one of these liftoffs up close. I have seen them from West Palm (about 3 hours South) but its not quite the same. That reminds me, I actually saw the Challenger explode from work clear down in WPB 20 or so years ago. Yikes, still sends chills up the spine!


When the excitement of this liftoff happened, I actually thru all knowledge of the camera and its settings out the window. I became a clumsy idiot! I started changing settings and clicking like a mad man......and created some serious garbage! That being said, I have this lousy image to show for it. (looks like an explosion as well!)

Gotta try this again, thats for sure!

Anyway, I'm beat.......more on all this later....